Aussies steal Tri Nations Cup, Kiwis take solo glory in Augusta Anaconda race

WET, slippery and windy conditions greeted 1,800 adventure racers on Sunday as they lined up underneath Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse ready to tackle Race Two of the Augusta Anaconda Adventure Race National Series, the biggest adventure race in the world.

Major awards included the Tri-Nations Trophy, won by Australian team Jarad Kohlar, James Pretto and Deanna Blegg with a time of 12:38:50, and the individual Mens and Womens titles, won by New Zealander Braden Currie and Victorian Deanna Blegg.

Local contestants did Augusta and surrounding towns proud with their high spirits and solid efforts in the race.

One entrant who impressed with their endurance and won an award for it was Simon Lentjes of Margaret River, who kept going even after his paddle snapped in half during the paddle race.

“Just as I passed Flinders Bay caravan park, my right blade snapped off,” Simon said.

He then used the remaining blade on both sides of the canoe, “Indian canoe style”.

Simon said he was determined to keep going as he could see the finish line and one of his teammates, Deb Sakeld waiting for him so she could begin the bike riding component. 

Together and with teammate Jock, they competed in the Mixed 4 category, with Simon taking on both the paddle and running components.

“I couldn’t let Deb down,” Simon said.

“The funny this is that I was passing two girls who called out, ‘No, you can’t pass us! You can’t do that!”

 “I’ve been stand up paddle boarding for years, so that helped,” he said.

He joked that it had been his friend’s paddle that he broke, and he will spend the $500 endurance award voucher on a new one to replace it.

Deb showed another kind of admirable spirit when she stopped to help someone who had fallen during the bike ride.

Simon said, “A girl had fallen off and hit her head on a rock. She later went to Bunbury Hospital.” “Deb stopped and helped her for 20 minutes.”

Deb mentioned several locals who had impressed her with their efforts during the Anaconda Race.

She said local ladies Julie McDonald, Jude Lentjes, Mandy Lane and Fi Carroll were thrilled to take out third place in the Anaconda Womens teams division.

“Now that they’ve found something special they’re eyeing off second place next year,” she said.

Others she mentioned included Charlie O’Burn, “an incredible swimmer”, Kristi Head, who “did both the mini and big race” and Bob Bucat who “did really well – he did (all the components) by himself.”

“So many locals were involved, it was great.”

Of her own racing experience she said, “It’s so addictive – you realise why people do it”.

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